When most of us think about New Year’s resolutions things like diet and exercise usually come to mind.
However, there may be another important sphere of life that needs reflection and discipline. Several years ago Christian thinker and author Os Guinness wrote a provocative book entitled Fit Bodies Fat Minds: Why Evangelicals Don’t Think and What to Do About It.
Guinness effectively illustrated that there is a serious problem in today’s evangelical churches concerning intellectual ignorance and apathy. He argues that for many Christians there is a chronic laziness of mind. Many believers today could undoubtedly benefit from mental exercise and a healthier consumption of good books. After all, the Lord Jesus Christ called his disciples to love God with all of their being, which includes the gift of the mind (Matthew 22:37).
Reading quality books is to the mind what exercise and a good diet are to the body. There are many benefits to be gained from exploring good books.
Last year I gave a sermon at my church challenging church members to read six classic Christian books. To my delight, two book clubs formed at the church and they read the theological works that I had recommended. Book clubs can be great opportunities for intellectual, social, and spiritual growth.
This year I am challenging my fellow believers to read six contemporary apologetics books. If you are adventurous enough to make this one of your New Year’s resolutions, then let me recommend six RTB books to consider for the upcoming year.
2009 RTB Apologetics Reading List
The six books that I am recommending were written by RTB staff scholars Hugh Ross, Fuz Rana, and myself. Some of the books are fairly new, while others have been around a while. However, because of their robust content few of them can be read and digested quickly. So my motto “Life is short, read fast!” may not apply to these meaty works.
1. A World of Difference: Putting Christian Truth-Claims to the Worldview Test by Kenneth Richard Samples
This is my latest book on worldviews. I am suggesting you read it first because it has a lot of good information on developing the “life of the mind.” It explores the historic Christian worldview in some depth and compares and contrasts it with such worldview competitors as naturalism, postmodernism, pantheistic monism, and Islamic theism. Learning to think in terms of worldviews is critical to Christians living in this pluralistic age.
2. The Cell’s Design: How Chemistry Reveals the Creator’s Artistry by Fazale Rana
In his latest book, Fuz uses his sharp understanding of biochemistry to illustrate the amazing molecular features of human cells. The material he provides takes the classical argument from divine design to a whole new level. Though it deals with a heady apologetic topic, The Cell’s Design is readable even for the nonscientist.
3. Why the Universe Is the Way It Is by Hugh Ross
Hugh’s newest book is hot off the press. It integrates science and theology by exploring the big “why” questions when it comes to God creating the universe. This is definitely one of Hugh’s most theologically oriented and accessible volumes. It can serve as a great gift for both believers and seekers.
4. Who Was Adam?: A Creation Model Approach to the Origin of Man by Fazale Rana with Hugh Ross
Of the books that Fuz and Hugh have collaborated on, this is my favorite. The care and fairness expressed in this book is truly impressive. My colleagues compare and contrast an evolutionary model of man’s origins with a biblical model. It remains one of the most important science apologetics books RTB’s scholar team has produced.
This book represents Hugh at his apologetic best. As an astronomer he powerfully and persuasively demonstrates how modern cosmology supports the view that the universe came into existence “out of nothing” and is exquisitely fine-tuned to allow for the emergence of complex life. It is one of the most important science-faith apologetics books you could ever read.
6. Without a Doubt: Answering the 20 Toughest Faith Questions by Kenneth Richard Samples
I wrote this book a few years ago. It addresses many of the challenging questions that people ask about historic Christianity. It strikes a good balance in terms of apologetic substance and readability. I have used it as a textbook in a number of my classes at Biola University. A number of churches across the country have used it as an apologetics text for their study groups.
Well, that’s my list.
Happy New Year and happy reading!
For more on the importance of pursuing the life of the mind to the glory of God, see my book A World of Difference: Putting Christian Truth-Claims to the Worldview Test.
For a modern classic on reading skills and comprehension, see Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren, How To Read A Book.